The evidence is clear: happy employees are good for business.
“Scientists have found that if you boost someone’s happiness, you boost their productivity 12-25% or more,” said Scott Crabtree, founder Happy Brain Science. And while heightened productivity may be a major motivator for employers to get to the bottom of employee happiness, it’s not the only reason. In the podcast Live Happy Now, Crabtree said: “Our brains work better, we’re healthier, we live longer, etc.,”
There are numerous reasons why employers should be concerned about employee happiness. It’s been proven that happier workplaces see less turnover, fewer health care costs and a decrease in mistakes and accidents. Perks also include heightened efficiency and quicker rebounds after failures and other instances of adversity.
Happy employees are better for your customers.
The benefits extend to customers, too. Employers within happy workplaces can even be good for marketing. They can expect higher customer loyalty and word-of-mouth endorsement, meaning better business and growth, overall.
Happy employees are more motivated.
People who experience more happiness at work are known to possess other positive character traits. And this doesn’t just apply to office workers. It can be said of the emerging entrepreneur, too. Improved commitment, motivation, and authenticity are all benefits of genuinely liking your job. According to some studies, happy employees are also rated by others as more trustworthy and likable. So whether you’re a small business, big business or an entrepreneur, the concept of happiness at work should be on your radar.
“There’s solid science that can guide us in making choices that lead to more happiness in our lives, and if we make those choices, we lead better lives,” said Crabtree.
Whether for a small business or big business, to create a comprehensive game plan, employers first ought to look at their current work environment, employee feedback, and techniques for how to promote happiness throughout every aspect of the job.
Changing the Game
So what can we do to keep employees happy in the workplace? What are the keys to making employees happy and maintaining this morale day in and day out?
From individual exercises and activities to group techniques designed to develop critical social skills, there are numerous ways today’s workplaces can prioritize employee happiness within their business models. The key, as some researchers find, is to zero in on a few vital components, including purpose and engagement. Here are a few ways today’s companies can prioritize employee happiness in a way that aligns with their company’s mission and goals.
One of the best things employers can do for employee happiness is to support purpose. Workers, in general, want to feel like they are working toward making a difference, ensuring their labor is part of a greater common good. Employers can promote purpose by solidifying the importance of core values in the workplace, and even implementing policies that help workers align these with their everyday experiences. Establishing goals and sharing them with your team can help push them toward exploring their real potential.
A staff that is genuinely engaged in their respective jobs can help today’s company’s flourish. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to promoting engagement among your employees. The right path for you will depend mainly upon your company’s culture, but there are three main ways it can be done.
One of the most significant ways to drive engagement in your workplace is to encourage playfulness. Supporting creativity and encouraging playfulness can do wonders for team morale.
“Fun is not the opposite of productive. Unproductive is the opposite of productive,” said Crabtree.
Companies like Southwest Airlines are widely recognized for their playful approach to work, and customers have certainly taken note, which has proven even a successful marketing tool for the airline giant.
Another way to encourage engagement among employees to offer more ownership of day-to-day tasks, which provides ample opportunity for growth and learning. Encouraging employees to reflect on their strengths can help them gain a more precise focus of their work experience, and in turn utilize these personal strengths to contribute to a team effort. Encouraging employees to embrace their strengths and assigning roles accordingly can lead to great things for the entire team.
One other major improvement employers can make toward a happier work environment is to embrace a less frigid work schedule. Productivity is not necessarily reflective of hours spent working. Some of today’s most innovative marketing companies are requiring downtime for their employees, which is a far cry from the “always on” methodology that’s taken hold of many businesses today. Some companies have gone as far as to banish work-related emails during non-work hours, so employees truly relax and enjoy their time away from the office. Helping employees disassociate work with “obligation” is solving one major piece of the puzzle.
Leading with Transparency
Whether at the office or in our personal lives, no one likes to be kept in the dark. Transparency is essential for employee morale. Keeping aspects of your business hidden can easily disempower your team, causing them to feel unappreciated and under-valued. Being transparent with your staff has its benefits, too. You may be able to solve problems more quickly, for instance, and it can help your team remain focused on the task, and their role, ahead. Leading with transparency within your company can also foster a heightened sense of community, which is what all businesses should strive for.
Career and development and advancement are relevant to today’s workers, and a vital component if you’re hoping to make sure they stick around for the long run. Once your employees begin to feel like their career goals won’t be met, they may start to look outside of your company.
You can manage employee expectations by meeting with them regularly, determining targets for individual employees, and working together to make their career goals come to fruition over time. This should be done throughout the company, and not just for upper management. Implementing this type of policy throughout your company can ensure employees feel appreciated and continually motivated.
Cultivating a happy work culture means more than improved productivity. It’s about building relationships. Employees are bound to be frustrated, confused or exhausted at one point during their career. It’s vital that they know they can communicate these issues to management and their problems will be taken seriously. Maintaining a sense of openness with your team, and making the time and effort to understand and try to rectify these issues, can give employees a higher sense of value.
Employees today want to feel appreciated, and this can be done in myriad ways. Verbal praise and acknowledgment for a job well done can go along way in terms of promoting employee happiness, as can small incentives, rather than monetary rewards.
There are endless benefits to being happier at work. From improved health to high creativity and problem-solving skills, happiness at work can help employees achieve much more than just their career goals. So whether you are part of a small business, a large company or are an entrepreneur, you should always prioritize happiness in the workplace.